1. The number of intellectual property (IP) applications filed in 2016 decreased relative to the number filed in each of the last six (6) years
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the number of applications for IP rights (patent, utility model, design and trademark) filed in 2016 totaled 463,846 (provisional).
For the last six (6) years from 2010, the number of the IP applications had increased each year. However, in 2016, the number of the IP applications decreased for the first time in the six (6) years and decreased 2.5% compared with the previous year, 2015.
□ Current state of applications by rights
The numbers of the patent, utility model, design and trademark applications were 208,830; 7,767; 65,643 and 181,606 with decreases of 2.3%, 10.8%, 3.4% and 2.1%, respectively, compared with the previous year.
□ Current state of applications by types of applicants
By the types of applicants of the patent applications, small and medium companies, public sectors and education sectors showed increases [small and medium companies with an average increase of 7.4% for the past five (5) years], whereas, big companies and the rest showed decreases.
Specifically, the big companies which recorded the most applications by 2014 had a decrease in 2015 and had the lowest percentage among the major applicants.
The number of the design and trademark applications filed by big companies also decreased, with a decrease of 17.1% in design applications and a decrease of 6.7% in trademark applications, compared with the previous year.
2. Trademarks are registered with Chinese Customs
- The number of IP rights registered with Chinese Customs to control imitations rapidly increased by five (5) times for the last three (3) years.
According to KIPO and the Korea Customs Service (KCS), the number of IP rights, such as trademarks, etc., which Korea companies registered as new with Chinese Customs in 2016, increased by about five (5) times for the last three (3) years.
The number of IP rights registered with Chinese Customs by Korean companies in 2014 was only 39 but started increasing to 112 in 2015 when KIPO and KCS carried forward the cooperation to strengthen the border measures of counterfeit goods and increased to 192 in 2016.
Based on the data of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the US and Japanese Customs, most of the world counterfeit goods are produced in China. Since the Chinese Customs authority does not control in a customs step IP rights if they are not registered with the Customs, above all it is important to register IP rights with the Chinese Customs to prevent the counterfeits of Korean companies’ products from spreading throughout the world.
KIPO and KCS have published a manual for registering IP rights with the Chinese Customs and held a company presentation and a company exchange meeting by inviting officials of the Chinese Customs, etc., to support Korean companies in registering IP rights with the Chinese Customs.
3. KIPO will invest 18.3 billion Korea Won to protect IP rights of Korean companies expanding overseas
- Focused on protection and commercialization of Hallyu (Korean wave) contents in Hallyu proliferation areas
KIPO decided to invest a budget of 18.3 billion Korea Won in 2017, to protect IP rights of small, middle and strong middle companies to expand overseas.
KIPO is supporting the following programs:
▲providing consultations of IP rights, supporting the cost of filing a trademark application and the cost of registering a IP right and supporting a local infringement investigation, through the IP-DESK (which is an IP center) installed in twelve (12) places in the world;
▲coping with preoccupancy of K-brands without notice and distribution of online counterfeit products in Hallyu popular areas including China, ASEAN areas; and
▲consulting with an export company to strengthen the capability to cope with a IP dispute, and supporting a project such as litigation insurance.
In 2016, the number of IP consultations of IP-DESK was 6,833 and the number of trademark application support of IP-DESK was 1,111, activating support in overseas locations. Dispute consultation supported 487 companies with an increase of 40% compared with the previous year, and litigation insurance supported 220 companies with an increase of 48% compared with the previous year.
4. Trends of hologram-related patent applications
According to KIPO, the number of hologram-related patent applications filed during the last four (4) years (2012~2015) was 343, with an increase of about two (2) times compared with 169 during the previous period (2008~2011).
Specifically, in the past, foreigners led the relevant applications up to 2008. However, as Korean research and development have been active, Koreans filed 96 of a total of 100 applications in 2015.
The main agents of these applications, on high-level characteristics, were companies (51.6%) and universities and institutes (38.8%) filed with the most the applications rather than individuals (9.6%). The applicants that filed the most applications were Korea Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) (18.4%), Samsung (12.0%), LG (8.7%) and Korea Electronics Technology Institute (5.2%).
The hologram technology filed in the patent applications is mainly divided into the following areas: ▲floating type hologram, ▲traditional holography type hologram, ▲plasma type hologram and ▲haptic hologram.
According to a spokesperson of KIPO, the hologram technology which can be called a completion of a stereoscopic image is used for diverse usage in the general industries, architecture, education, medical treatment, games, etc. and its ripple effects are very big. Government’s positive support and industry-university-institute’s research and development and obtaining patents will be more actively performed to preoccupy the future market of several hundred trillion Korea Won.